Guidelines for client selection in the home birth midwifery practice

1995    Vedam S, Kolodji Y. (1995). Guidelines for client selection in the home birth midwifery practice. Journal of Nurse-Midwifery, 40(6): 508-521. 



Numerous studies have documented the safety of planned home birth; yet, few have identified specific criteria for selection of the home birth candidate. Home birth midwifery practice achieves successful outcomes by appropriate evaluation of medical and obstetric risk factors, as well as an ongoing evaluation and development of the client’s psychosocial resources and the midwife-client relationship. Relevant medical and obstetric factors include significant medical illnesses, antenatal course, smoking history, commitment to breastfeeding, and the woman’s nutritional profile. Social and environmental factors include the need for a stable birthing environment, practical means for hospital transfer, and the presence of loving support for the client during and after delivery. The client’s psychological preparedness is a critical variable that may affect the ability to deliver in the home setting without analgesia or labor augmentation. Active participation in prenatal care, preparation of the home and family members, and a realistic attitude regarding the risks, benefits, and potential complications of planned home delivery are all components of this preparedness. Because midwifery practice promotes midwife-client rapport by careful attention to both medical and psychosocial issues during prenatal care, this relationship is itself an important predictor of the client’s suitability for home birth. The quality of midwife-client interactions may influence not only the decision to plan a home birth but the indications for hospital transfer should problems arise. In this article, existing literature is reviewed and criteria are proposed for selecting home birth candidates within the American midwifery practice setting.

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